travel

My Clothes Are Feeling Portuguese

Portuguese clotheslineYou know how you have seen photos, or travel programs on television, or even strolled the charming streets of European cities and thought to yourself…”if only they didn’t have that laundry hanging out!."

Sorry folks, we don’t have dryers here in our charming little city apartments. Our apartment has a small front loaded washer with odd symbols that took me over a month to figure out. We are on the 4th floor; it’s called the 3rd floor because the 1st floor is called 0 here. I don’t know….it just is, so if you come here and someone says they are on the tres floor, it’s really the 4th floor. Ask if they have an elevador (elevator, but you could have probably guessed that one).

Outside the window are 3 pieces of thin rope to hang laundry. It is treacherous business and I have dropped quite a few clothespins down, luckily I have not hit an innocent passerby. On windy days I have learned to use additional clothespins for safety. I lost a really good beach towel at first, blew right off and someone now has a great new beach towel. Lesson learned, use lots of clothespins.

if it is going to rain, do not do laundry. Need at least 2 days of sun. Our building doesn’t get direct sunlight so it takes longer for the clothes to dry. Also, the clotheslines don’t hold much so what to wash has to be planned.

So why are all of Europe and the rest of the worldlingerie on the line  hanging their laundry out to dry instead of using a dryer? Electricity costs lots of money, now I know it costs lots of money in the States, but here it costs really lots of money. Also, Europeans seem more aware of conserving resources than Americans, just an observation…not a judgment.

One of the things I was concerned with when I first began hanging out my laundry in front of the entire city is do I hang my “unmentionables,” or do I let them discreetly dry inside? I studied all the other laundry hanging from the apartments, there were the bras, panties, boxers, you name it, all proudly taking the sun. So, my big American bras hang out from the 3rd (really 4th) floor balcony, chatting with the sweater hanging from the clothesline across the street.

My clothes just love hanging outside seeing their friends. Some have told me they find the neighbors very materialistic…I guess that is just the way they are made.

Constance left the U.S. not for spiritual enlightment (Eat, Love, Pray), or to run away from anything, but to challenge herself in a new culture, living a simple life. Portugal seemed to be the best fit, and so far it is just the right size. Read lots more at her blog Con-Toons.

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